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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 13, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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hello again. i'm pauline chiu at cnn hong kong. >> i'm natalie alan at cnn center. we between welcome viewers to our continuing coverage of the aftermath of the earthquake in japan. it has been 48 hours of hell for
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japan, the country is reeling from the double blow of the huge earthquake and tsunami that followed. one of the biggest concerns right now is the threat of nuclear complications. more on that in a moment. first, japan's emergency headquarters says the death toll has just passed 800. that is a number certain to rise. at least 678 are confirmed missing. more than 1400 listed as injured. those numbers only hint at the devastation. one japanese news agency reports 10,000 people missing from one town alone. local media is already reporting word from the prime minister that more than 3,000 people have been rescued. our paula hancocks to arrive in minamisanriku. she reports half of the town's 18,000 residents are simply missing.
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it's a town that had 18,000 citizens. that would mean 9,500 people still missing. let me get out of the shot so you can have a look at just how badly this area is damaged. where we're standing here is on the edge of town. you can see a couple of houses still standing, because we're about 3. 3 kilometers away from the sea. that's almost two miles from the coastline. so you can have a sense there of just how strong this tsunami was, to be able to destroy houses, completely to this level. there's boats that have ridden on the tsunami and come all the way up here. behind one of the houses still standing there's a huge truck carried on the wave all the way up this far as well, 3.3 kilometers. there were 18,000 residents
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here. we spoke to a couple of them that have come back to see what's left of their homes and try to start the impossible cleanup. but they say that they ran when they heard the tsunami warning. one woman said she knows some of her neighbors stayed in their homes when there was the tsunami warning. so inevitably they would not have survived. it's impossible to see how many people could have survived in those houses. we understand the search and rescue teams are still going, according to local reports. they have pulled out 42 survivors this sunday morning. we can't confirm that with the police at this point. police are not saying much. but this is what the local residents and local media are saying. it is still very much a search and rescue mission. we understand they have found a couple of badly injured people further towards the shore. at this point they haven't brought them out. >> now to the nuclear concerns.
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we are getting some seemingly conflicting information regarding what's happening at the fukushima daiichi nuclear facility. japan's ambassador to the u.s. told cnn there is no evidence of a meltdown there. he said this a couple of hours ago. but a japanese nuclear safety official tells cnn that a meltdown may have occurred at one or more of its nuclear reactors. he said, quote, we do believe that there is a possibility that meltdown has occurred. it is inside the reactor. we can't see. however, we are assuming that a meltdown has occurred. he went on to say, with reactor number three, we are also assuming that the possibility of a meltdown as we carry out measures. however, government officials insist the situation is under control and there are no indications of dangerously high radiation levels in the atmosphere but they have acknowledged there is some radiation in the air.
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we know radiation has been released and its affecting people. the chief cabinet secretary addressed that as well. >> translator: people who were evacuated on buses, among them nine people, after diagnosis. we have confirmed they may have been exposed to radioactive material. four out of nine had a reading of about 40,000 which was the highest. so their clothing or on the surface of their skin, they have been exposed to radioactive material. now they are trying to make sure that they have not internally exposed to radioactive material. >> cnn's senior international corner stan grant is monitoring all of this from our tokyo bureau and he joins us live with more on the situation. stan has the government had any updates on this in the past hour?
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>> reporter: no, nothing in the past hour. what you report there still stands, and that is this official from the nuclear safety agency is indicating they're concerned there may be a meltdown inside the reactor. this has been developing over the past two days, ever since the quake knocked out the ability to cool the reactor. what he's talking about there is the daiichi plant, which has six different reactors in it. talking about the number one and potentially also number three reactor. two reactors potentially experiencing this. what that exactly means, though, is still unclear. let me wind back a bit. yesterday there was a lot of concern about this cesium, this radio active component that they found traces of in the atmosphere. now that is normally an indication of something occurring, disintegration within the reactor because that is normally stored within the reactor. at the time there was
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speculation there was melting on the casing outside the reactor and now we're getting this news of perhaps a meldown inside the reactor itself. you hear this world "meltdown" and it brings alarm bells. i had to put this 20 kilometer, 13-mile exclusion zone around the area, evacuating as many as 200,000 people from their homes. within the structure itself, within the nuclear power plant, there are many what they call redone dance safety features. if something fails, something else is in place to guard against potentially harmful consequences. the question is if all of those various safety valves, if all of the safety procedures, if you like, fail, what happens then? does the radioactive material go into the soil and cause even greater problem? is it released into the atmosphere? these are the areas of uncharted territory that they could be entering now. many steps before you get to
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that and the government cautioning over the course of yesterday the radiation detected in the atmosphere had been decreasing. >> what do they expect, as far as -- it's natalie -- when are they saying it's a crucial time for them as far as monitoring the situation? will they know something defuntive within the next 24 hours? >> reporter: it's a crucial time right now. it's been a crucial time since it started to happen. what happens here is the reactor, the water level drops in the reactor, reactors generate eflormonormal out amou heat and that bills steam that is transferred into electricity. the power is a third of the electricity for the country. when the water level drops, the rrnl is exposes and it continues to generate heat and that's when you lead to the potential disintegration of that. every hour that goes by, we've had experts talking about this, every hour that goes by is more
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critical. heat continues to buildle. talking about a potential or fear of the beginnings of a meltdown within the reactor, clearly you've entered into a critical phase. if you're talking about what is crucial now, now is crucial. >> stan grant for us. >> thank you. the developments at the fukushima plant have reignites the fierce debate over the safety of nuclear energy. the citizen's nuclear information center is an avid anti-nuclear campaigner. the group wants a nuclear-free world. phillip white belongs to this organization. he is a nuclear expert and joins us on the phone from tokyo. thanks for joining us. i want to ask you, if things do get worse, even though each hour counts as they go by, if things get worse what do residents need to do to try to protect themselves? >> well, there are basically two things. it's better inside a building
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than outside a building. and the further away you are, the better. but i really hope that all the people who are somewhere in the vicinity of that plant are safe from serious radiation exposure. however, it's just something you've got to bear in mine is that the worst case scenarios are out there that could happen -- they may not happen -- but in the worst case scenario, really you take all of the measures you can. but there's lit that can be done because as much as 100 kilometers away people could be getting lethal doses. that's not what the situation is now. i'm not suggesting that's what's happening now. but that is the worst case scenario that can occur. it's really important -- sorry. >> i wanted to ask you if you
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think that the measures that the government has taken so far are the appropriate measures, pumping in seawater into one of the reactors to try to cool it down and evacuating residents to a radius of 20 kilometers, or in your opinion do you think something else needs to be done? >> reporter: firstly, evacuating the people is the right thing. how far they should be evacuated is probably debatable. but i think the further, the better. 20 kilometers is probably more a matter of convenience and the total impracticality of moving people in the midst of an earthquake and tsunami is the important thing to bear in mind, we have simultaneously infrastructure wiped out by those factors, and then we have on top of that a nuclear
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disaster. this is zsomething that we've been warning for a long, long time but the government has refused to take on board this double whammy when these things happen together. but anyway, what is actually possible, i don't know. but the further they can get them away, the better. as for the seawater into the core, we held a press conference last night in japanese in which we had experts speaking on the issue. the reactors' designers that we had there said that basically it is a recognition there is no future for this reactor. this reactor is finished. >> that's what most experts are saying. phillip, that's what most of the experts are saying when you pour sea water in with elements there, you cannot use this reactor, it's not al vsalvageab again. i want to ask about the weather.
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we did speak with a resident, he's concerned about rain because radiation is already in the air. if it rains, a significant amount, does that pose any more danger to residents, say in tokyo? >> it depends where the radiation is blown. if the radiation is blown out to sea, that is to say by the winds, that is the safest, as far as human beings are concerned. but if it is blown over populated areas and then the rain falls, that means that the radiation is no longer in the air, it's falling on top of people and it's falling on the ground, and so the radioactivity is then beingen gues ee ingeste deposited into the soil. in the case of the hiroshima bombs there was so-called black rain after the explosion which rained radioactivity on the population. and this is one of the major
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causes of radiation exposure at that time. >> so we are certainly watching the forecast. we're checking in with our meteorologists often. phillip white, nuclear expert from the citizens for nuclear information center, he's joining us from tokyo. thank you so much, mr. white. the story out of japan is about people, people whose lives have been completely turned upside down and wondering what is next. hour kyung lah is long the ground in sendai, a city completely devastated by the kuhn. what have you been able to gather so far. >> reporter: we've been primarily spending our day natalie in this one neighborhood of sendai and what i wanted to show you is just a little bit of what we're looking at. if you look over this way, to my left, this area that you're seeing that's completely underwater. part of it is rice fields. but everything beyond,
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everything toward the back of the watt that you're looking at that was once homes. if you look in the foreground, you'll see the force of the tsunami was able to pick up vehicles and nen just drop it in different parts of the city. homes have been completely washed away. what is at the ground now, unthat water now, is foundation which the military says the water has to go away before they can start looking for any survivors and think bodies. we want to walk you over this way. you can see the military is here. that's very good news. they are able to try to find victims. but what they're encountering stuff like this, debris. this is a vehicle, completely upside down. it's covered in debris. you can see the tires and the front of the car, that's a truck that is. this is a snapshot of just one of the many things that being repeated along the coastline in japan. this is an elementary school. t
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school had 450 students, teachers and workers when the tsunami warning came. many did get out, some did not. there were bodies found inside the school. rescuers are still finding survivors. we have seen some of the crews from the air plucking people and lifting them into safety. there are signs of life but now that we're more than 48 hours into this disaster natalie is getting to be much more difficult to have hope for any of the survivors and people who are missing and believed lost in all of this. >> such a tragedy, there in front of that cool. how long did people have to get out once the call came in to get out of harm's way? how long did they have? >> reporter: it's something that's difficult to gauge here because some people had their mobile devices with them. some people heard the alarms.
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so that was approximately 30, 40 minutes from the time that the warning came out to when the tsunami came ashore. the question is, whether everybody got the message when that message went out. and that's very difficult to gauge. a lot of the residents here say many of them did manage to leave as soon as they did hear. but some people did not. they decided to stay or they just didn't quite hear that alert. so it does vary about how much time because we don't know what time everyone got that alert or heard that warning. >> we'll certainly -- no one is there now. looks like a virtual ghosttown. is it from what you can see from where you are? >> reporter: it's actually not. this is one section of town. this is an elementary school. the school is deserted. in another part of the town, people are going back and forth. one road open into this residential area, prepare going there, trying to pluck some clothes, perhaps on the second
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or third floor of homes, trying to get supplies because supplies is a big challenge here. trying to get water, food, if there's any dried food, residents have taking that dried food and taking it hole. further down the street, this is, you can see there's a roadway here and there's homes behind there. homes that are still at least on the top part of those homes still standing. people are trying to get home and grab whatever they can, especially blankets, because there's little, spotty, electricity as well. >> can't bhimagine what it muste like to there be. kyung lah, thank you. let's go back a few days and backtrack to friday, when disaster strikes the small southeastern city of in iwati.
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wow, you can see and hear the force of the water. unrelenting flow of water pre-pelled by the soon crashes that this city washing away everything into its path, leaving property and livelihoods in ruins. it's not known how many lives were lost in the town. one thing is certain, lives of survivors in kamaishi are change forever. the resident remained shell-shocked after the quake. the disaster that struck on that sunny friday afternoon left their homes in shambles. their lives never to be the same again. japanese broadcaster nhk shows us how it all unfolded.
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>> reporter: at 3:00 p.m. friday afternoon, kamaishi city hall issued the tsunami warning. residents evacuated homes looking for higher ground. these people managed to get to this hilltop, mothers held on tightly to their children. they listened anxiously to the radio for more information. >> reporter: at 3:11, a massive tsunami swept through the city.
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>> what those children have just witnessed, a look at reality on the ground there in kamaishi. things are far from settled, as we know. people dealing with aftershocks since friday. ivan is keeping track of them, and there are many. >> indeed, many. i just refreshed it for you.
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i was thinking, when tracking hurricanes and typhoons, as they make landfall, the worst is over, just a few hours later. we have clear skies after that and we're done. talk about an earthquake here, aftershocks continue for hours and days and sometimes weeks at a time, and the last thing someone that has just gone through an incredible and traumatic experience like an earthquake is to feel the earth shaking beneath you because you don't foe how intense the next one will be. take a look at cluster here. some have been significant here. i'll go through the list and then through the category of what they have been. we are nearing now 300 aftershocks. we only had one major earthquake after that, happened shortly after the 8.9 which is the fifth strongest earthquake we've ever recorded since keeping records.
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171, between 5 and 5.9. that could cause moderate damage here. take you into the scale here. we have not had anything above a 7. 0 in quite some time. i want to leave you here with pictures of kamaishi, which is just incredible here, as we fly you in. i want to show you what's happened before on google satellite and what is left of the town at this point here. and there it is, there is kamaishi. and watch what happens after the tsunami hit. you can barely make out what's left. there are rescue crews in this mess trying to get people out. i will be back in the next half hour to let you know how weather conditions will play a role as that recovery effort continues. >> you heard from our nuclear expert how important it is that it doesn't rain, in case there is some sort of radio active fallout from the nuclear plants.
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a look at what's being done to help food, water, equipment. countries pitching into aid and rescue efforts however they can. we'll show you how you can get involved next. welcome back to geico radio, it's savings, on the radio.
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hello uh george and linda! george: hello mr. gecko! linda: so, we're such huge fans - george: of yours...and would be really honored... linda: ...if you would marry us. me? linda: yea! you just seem so - george: british - sounding. i'm not really qualified to speak on matters of the heart. look i'll tell you this: when you insure more than one car geico you could save even more with our multi-car discount. i now pronounce you...thrifty! geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. welcome back to our special coverage. we want to update you on the nuclear hazard after japan's earthquake and tsunami. after the explosion at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant saturday, the prime minister's chief cabinet secretary says there may have been meltdowns in two of the
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three reactors. a meltdown is a catastrophic failure which could lead to widespread release of toxic radiation but the cabinet secretary says radiation levels so far are not hazardous. yet nine people tested positive for high radiation levels due to exposure of skin and clothing. the nuclear plants part of the story in fukushima. there's extensive damage throughout the prefecture. the magnitude is hard to grasp. cars and houses underwater, or simply torn to pieces. early reports say entire communities are wiped out. >> the world community is banding together to offer much-needed help. dozens of countries are offering help. teams have arrived from south korea and singapore, seoul sent two rescue dogs and handlers and three assistants for sefrnz through collapsed buildings. the u.s. military sending aid.
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uss ronald reagan preparing for relieve efforts. >> if you would like to help the victims of the japan earthquake, find information at our impact your world team is collecting li ining links to organizations mobilizing relief efforts in japan. you'll find a link to google's people finder database which reunites people separate in the chaos. as the response ramps up, we'll continue to add information to the page. please keep checking sendai was one of the worst hit. next, we'll show you the amazing images that show how the earthquake transformed the city's landscape in just a few minutes. plus -- the latest on cleanup efforts from a cnn reporter on the ground.
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our special coverage of the earthquake in japan and the tsunami that followed continues now. images from before and after the disaster really give a sense of the devastation there. this is soma on the northwest coast. it has been almost completely flooded. a dow chemical facility was reportedly flooded but the company says there were no injuries. the city of sendai may be the hardest hit. it's the closest to the epicenter of friday's earthquake and it has a population of about 1 million people. this is a big farming area, and the loss of crops will clearly be devastating. here's a close-up of the damage
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in sendai. a highway ripped down its center there. helicopters are helping the rescue effort. residents are plagued by power outages as well as food and fuel shortages. 300 bodies recovered in the town not long after friday's quake and tsunami. >> amazing to watch. believe it or not, the aftershocks from friday's earthquake have yet to stop our anna coren on the ground. we have her report of how the continuous shaking still has residents on edge. >> we have to keep in mine that in all of this devastation there are still rescue operations going on in some very cole temperatures. ivan cabrera will give us the outlook.
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live news conference. the chief cabinet secretary for japan. let's listen in. >> so this level, 1,557 microseivert equivalent to three x-ray examinations on a stomach. and the radiation level but lower to 184. >> translator: according to the statistics? >> this is one round trip of the japan, tokyo, new york and one time is 200 microsever tft of t exposure. if it's accumulated at the top
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of the building but we cannot deny but for some rare occasions that may trigger explosion like yesterday it was just like yesterday that it would not damage too much of the damage to the pressure reactor. and the reactor pressure vessel because explosion takes place on outside of the reactor pressure because the vessel is designed to withstand that much of the exposure. and if the explosive event does take place, in some rare case, that the radioactivities in the vicinity of the power plant is as i have mentioned and therefore there's no need of additional measures of the evacuees or to the level that will adversely affect the health
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condition of the evacuees taking shelter nearby. explosive events or the possibility thereof, will create that the sense of fear among them and also to prevent the array -- the fear and the local people that we took this in in advance. you mentions the possibility of the accumulation of the hydrogen of the top of the building, isn't there any ways of removing the hydrogen itself? >> basically from the building or from the reactor, from this time, the difference between this time and yesterday is the vent, venting, ventilation is functioning and therefore the basically within the process of the removing the air to the outside of the building and in this process where this is
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taking place and therefore there's a high possibility that the hydrogen is now removed in the process of removing from the building to outside. but for allaying the fear of the people we took measures of reporting in advance. >> is there a plemeltdown over core of the reactor? >> we have to be very careful with the terminology here. a part of the core, a part of the core, to a certain degree of the reactor is deforming and let's say that we do not deny the possibility of the deforming of a part of the core within the reactor because of a certain am of the time there exposed outside of the water, however, the meltdown in a general sense is a very serious because -- well, the period of time that
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the reactors of the core was not submerges is not long enough to come to that to theequivalent o the meltdown. >> translator: my question is exposure of the core or the rods, while the fuel is exposed and that is a meltdown to us. any data proving this? >> translator: i have not confirmed any data of what you have mentioned. the beginning you have been injecting fresh was somewhere trouble takes place and you switch to seawater. what kind of troubles? the number three reactor of the power plant that you are pumping into the sea water and so that are you considering that
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scrapping or abandoning of the power plant? when we use seawater it will be very difficult to reuse the plant, we understand that. that means that we have to abandon this power plant in the future. according to the report from the experts they say it will be extremely difficult to continuousage of the power plant but realizing this for the safety measures to put into priority of safety that we took this measure. what's the reason the radiation level was raising we already vented out the air from the nuclear reactor. because the core if the core is not submerged for long enough, the radiation emitted from the
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reactor temporarily rise. so the raidiation level is not harmful. 1,557 microsievert this level if exposed to this level for one hour, you are exposed to 1,557 microsievert. if you take an x-ray on your stomach, that means that your exposed to 600 microsievert. currently the radiation level is not harmful. so as a conclusion, i would say that this is not harmful to human health.
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>> do you have disclosed microsi microsivirt in level but was that is the level in the compound, are you going to survey the radiation level like one kilometer, five kilometers away from the reactor? i think the more surveying and monitor willing be better. i just held a news conference when -- because i got new income, that's why i held the conference. >> all right. that is the spokesman for the prime minister of japan saying currently, the radiation level is not harmful and being asked by reporters about the question of if a meltdown is under way. he said we have to be careful with terminology but said the meltdown in a general sense, is very serious but reiterating he did say the radiation level is not harmful and there's no need for additional measures for
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evacuees. that's the latest from the japanese government. we'll continue to follow developments on that part of this story as we push on. we want to -- >> natalie, two days after a huge earthquake and a tsunami hit japan, here's some of what we know at this time. there is concern over the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant, and we just heard from the prime minister's chief cabinet secretary about it. a japanese nuclear safety official tells cnn that a meltdown may have occurred and at least one of its reactors. the official death toll stands at over 800, but there are still many people unaccounted for. in fact a japanese news agent reports almost 10,000 people missing from one town alone. >> the city of sendai one of the worst hit during friday's earthquake. we want to get an idea of how
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the city's doing more than 48 hours later. joining me on the line now is melissa hang, she's been at a sheller in the city. i'm told you are at a gymnasium. first, tell us how you're doing. he. >> hi, pauline. i'm doing okay. i think everyone here's just a little bit tired. today, everything seems a little bit better than the last couple of days. electricity from power out in some parts of sendai. the weather has actually become warmer last few days subzero and snowing conditions. and without electricity, it's very very, cold. >> take us back to when all of this started. where were you? how did you experience the earthquake? how much time did you to get out of harm's way when you heard the warning of the tsunami? >> reporter: i was in a school when it happened.
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actually, on wednesday, we had a small earthquake, it was big at the time. we thought, wow, this is quite a big quake. but you know, in retrospect, it was a small one. but on wednesday we had a quake. on friday when the big one hit, everyone just got under the table thinking, here we go again, but it lasted a long time. it felt very, very long. the magnitude of the seriousness of what was going on, i think, when everything started falling around us, happen cabinets falling down, windows smashed out, i've been in quakes before but this was terrifying. as soon as the quake stopped we were all under desks -- because that's the drill -- as soon as the quake stop we'd evacuated everyone. a lot of people ran out of
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rooms, classrooms, without anything, with just the clothes that we had on. so many were unprepared for the snow because we're in the middle of winter. march is the coldest month of winter. we were in the field. it was snowing. everybody was crying. and the aftershocks were frequent and strong, as well. so for about the first hour, it was -- it was quite -- we had a rough time. everybody was just scared. nobody knew what was going on then. it was just a bit frightening. >> can you begin to describe how terrifying it was when you realized the tsunami was bearing down? >> i think the worst -- one of the worst things for many people i'm with is that the phone lines have been down. you know, many people here have
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families who live in the neighboring prefectures, many of my colleagues have parents, elderly parents who live on the coast. because the phone lines have been down, no one's been able to call anybody. no one's been able to get any updates how their families have "farenheit 9/11" fared or whether they're safe. even the first time, many parents came looking for their children and nobody knew where anybody was and i think that lack of contact made things even more frightening than were. >> absolutely, can't imagine. i'm sure people at the shelter are in shock of what they're going through. melissa heng, thank you for talking with us. racing to prevent a nuclear disaster. the latest on the dangerous situation at the daiichi plant
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in fukushima and what is being done about it as we push on. just ahead -- the toll on japan's businesses. we'll take a look at what's been happening with some of the country's biggest industries. we're back in a few minutes. announcer: wherever the game takes you, transitions is your best playing partner. transitions lenses adapt to changing light to help you stay comfortable and in the zone in all light conditions both on and off the course. kenny perry and trevor immelman have made transitions part of their game. ask your eye care professional today which transitions lenses are right for you.
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the latest on one of the biggest post-quake concerns in japan, threat of radiation after the explosion at fukushima daiichi nuclear power plan on saturday. the prime minister's chief cabinet secretary says there may have been meltdowns in two of the plant's three reactors. a meltdown is a catastrophic
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failure, which could lead to widespread release of toxic radiation. the cabinet secretary said moments ago there are no indications yet of dangerously high radiation levels in the atmosphere. yet, more than 200,000 people have been ordered to leave the area and 9 people have tested positive for high radiation levels, due to exposure of their skin and clothing. the massive earthquake and tsunami deliver another blow to an economy that's already reeling. japan has been in and out of recession for two decades now, and it's dealing with deflation as well. global oil prices fell on news of the earthquake. japan is one of the world's top oil consumers. third in imports, behind the united states and china. and questions remain about the damage to japan's oil refineries. there were fires in dozens of locates including a refinery
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near tokyo. toyota, nissan, sony shut down their facilities two toyota plans located near the hardest hit areas. toyota does not know when it will resume production there. supplies are running low in the aftermath of the huge cage and tsunami. senda sendai, rescuers under way. those who have survived are fining difficulty finding basic necessities of living day to day. people are standing in long lines at stores and gas stations. when they get there, shelves have bare. thomas nixon shot this photo in japan. he had a feeling the shelves would be bare after the quake. we heard from ryan mcdonald earlier. >> the biggest problem right now we have is there's no food anywhere. this what i had for dinner, 12
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hours ago. i have had nothing to eat since then. i had some orange juice. this is all i've had in 12 hours. all of the convenience stores are closed, grocery scores are closed. everyone's on the road trying to find something open and it's just grade lock everywhere. >> the earthquake was so powerful it literally shook the entire island of japan. so much so that the country's geography has now physically changed. chad myers explains. it's the north america plate. i know it doesn't make any sense. the pacific plate japan sits on the north america plate and the plate is behind it. when the stresses were building up, the pacific plate coming from hawaii, the pacific plate
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is pushing into japan, and going under japan's, it's called subducting. the subduction zone is going under. the part that was japan here that this plays on begins to curl in, it begins to get stresses on it. go ahead and hit play. the stresses here get pushed in, pushed in, pushed in, and all of a sudden, at the very last minute right before the earthquake, and there is the earthquake, it pops. and when it pops, it pops the landmass, pushes up the water, and the water gets pushed out as a tsunami. so the story, and you'll find it on, as well, is that after the earthquake, japan is now eight feet closer to america than it was before the earthquake. because it was getting pushed, pushed, push, all of a sudden, japan popped to the east by 8 feet. they know this because there are a number of gps locations on
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ja sban these little pins have moves. most of them have moved about eight feet. it will be interesting to see if part of japan has gone up or down. there will be spots, there will be some of these pins that they'll find them that they went up or down in elevation as well, not just up or down, back and forth, but the story is -- i know eight feet seems like a big deal, but the banda aceh quake back in 2004 moved banda aceh 20 meters -- do the math -- that's 60 feet. so this was a big quake, of course. but the banda aceh quake actually moved the islands there around indonesia by 60 feet. now think of this, the axis issue, the same question. think of an ice skater with her arms out going slowly and as soon as she brings her arms in, she moves quicker. so the axis of rotation has moves by four inches. >> that's chad myers reporting, explaining how powerful the
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earthquake was, so powerful it moved japan eight feet to the east. we'll be right back after this break.
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pictures are simply unbelievable. a young woman i just spoke with a few moments ago at a shelter
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in sendai said part of the problem for many people there, they don't know where their loved ones are and whether they're okay. there is desperation, as you can imagine, hundreds, perhaps thousands of japanese look for loved ones in the aftermath of the quake trying to call, reach out, poring over lists of those evacuated, seeking information. >> translator: my husband hasn't come here yet. he left home a little later than me. our house was swept away. >> translator: i'm looking for my son's wife. i have no idea which shelter she is in. >> my son might have been engulfed by the tsunami. i hope he's taking shelter somewhere. i'm struggling to locate him. >> one woman who made it out alive talked about her dra mattic escape from the tsunami with her baby. >> translator: when i got home, i had a neighbor shouting,
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tsunami coming, when i got out of the house i saw the tsunami approaching. the elementary school, the evacuation site was to far so i fled to a footbridge. we were soaking wet. other people fled to the footbridge helped to keep us warm. we are all right thanks to the help. i'm relieved that my baby was not harmed. >> a few that are okay. we'll continue to follow this story of course. i'm natalie alan at cnn center in atlanta. >> we continue our extensive coverage of the situation in japan at the top of the hour. you're watching cnn. most americans aren't eating enough whole grains.
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